With the weather being a little chilly here in the valley of the sun, there is something that should heat up some intensity for Arizona State. With the season less than a week away, the ASU baseball team will began its season as one of the best teams in the nation.
Ranked No.16 in the Collegiate Baseball preseason poll, the Sun Devils will have a lot of talent to work with. The team this season saw a return in players such as Team USA member and All-America pitcher Trevor Williams as well as All-Conference players Max Rossiter and Michael Benjamin.
With a team that will have a new blend of veterans and a freshmen recruiting class that’s ranked third in the nation, the Sun Devils will be focusing their sights on Omaha come June, but beware.
Heed this warning ASU fans. There is a presence within the Pac-12 that will be a major threat come conference play and all that can be said is beware of the Bruins.
Even though the Pac-12 has six teams listed inside the top 20, the biggest threat to this team can and will be UCLA. Making it all the way to the College World Series for the past three seasons and eight times since 2000, UCLA will have a team that is destined to win it all.
The Bruins will have many notables returning including four starters in the infield (Kevin Kramer, Cody Regis, Pat Valaika and Kevin Williams). Both Kramer and Valaika had impressive stats in 2012 summer leagues.
Kramer hit .339 for the La Crosse Loggers of the Northwood League including five homeruns and 21 runs batted in. Valaika posted a .258 average with 12 runs scored and 16 RBI in 31 games for the Chatham Anglers in the prominent Cape Cod League.
Alongside a veteran infield, the Bruins will also have some presence in their pitching. Most notable can be relief pitcher David Berg who was named the 20th overall prospect from the US Collegiate National Team by Baseball America as well as a Preseason All-American. Berg last season led the Pac-12 with a commanding 1.46 ERA in 50 appearances for the Bruins.
If things can’t even get more imposing for UCLA, the Bruins have brought in the second best recruiting class of 2012. According to ESPN, the Bruins signed seven of ESPN’s top 100 commits, two of which were five-star recruits and five being four stars.
With the Sun Devils beginning their season on Friday night against Bethune Cookman, be sure to look forward down the road to March as well. That is when the team will face off against UCLA for the first time this season and whether ASU will embrace the warning: Beware of the Bruins.